Series cruises into fourth season

HBO has renewed “Boardwalk Empire” for a fourth season.

The period drama starring Steve Buscemi has been nominated for drama series Emmys in each of its first two seasons and has averaged 2.5 million viewers through the first two episodes of its third season. The season-two finale was the show’s highest-rated episode of 2011 with 3.0 million viewers.

Terence Winter created the series, which he exec produces with Martin Scorsese, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Tim Van Patten.

“Terry Winter, Martin Scorsese and the rest of their outstanding team continue to produce a stunning show that never fails to surprise and entertain,” said HBO prexy Michael Lombardo. “We are excited to bring this unique series back for a fourth season.”

Van Patten won one of three “Boardwalk” Emmys last month, for drama directing. In its freshman year, the series won eight Emmys, most of any primetime show in 2011.

HBO’s drama lineup also features the Emmy-nominated “Game of Thrones” along with 2012 newcomer “The Newsroom,” “True Blood” (coming back for a sixth season in 2013) and “Treme,” which recently got a greenlight for a truncated fourth and final season next year.

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